While speaking at a White House press briefing on Wednesday, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell said that thousands of Floridians had been left without power in the wake of Hurricane Idalia.
« There are nearly 300,000 customer outages for power in Florida. And we do expect those numbers to continue to rise as the storm passes through and goes into Georgia,” Criswell said.
“We will see power outage numbers for Georgia, South Carolina and perhaps North Carolina,” she continued.
Criswell added that US Army engineers had been ‘prepositioned to support power restoration’ in the affected areas and were equipped with over 30 generators.
The FEMA administrator noted that Idalia had passed over Florida and was moving through Georgia towards South Carolina.
« This is still a very much an active situation, remnants of the storm are still affecting Florida as we speak. The storm is over Georgia and moving into South Carolina. People there and in the Carolinas will continue to experience impacts throughout the day today and possibly into the weekend, » she added.
Earlier in the briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that the Biden administration was prepared to ‘support any needs that may arise’ as the storm passes over the southeast coast.
“Personnel and resources from across the federal government and from our voluntary and nonprofit partners are ready to assist, » Jean-Pierre said.
“The president and our entire administration, our entire administration are committed to supporting all communities impacted by the hurricane. We will be with you every step of the way as we have been when we have to deal with these types of disasters.”
Hurricane Idalia slammed into Florida’s Big Bend region as a Category 3 storm on Wednesday morning with wind speeds of around 125 mph (201 kph).
The storm brought torrential rain and flash floods as it made landfall, with authorities still trying to assess the damage.
Officials had ordered evacuations across 28 counties. Governor Ron DeSantis called on residents in low-lying areas to seek higher ground due to potentially life-threatening floods.